Diving in Albania

Diving in Albania — diving centers, country, description and general recommendations for tourists

General information about the country

Both the Adriatic and Ionian Seas border the mainland of Albania, and its coastlines span 362 kilometers. From its border with Montenegro, up through the Bay of Vlora, the beaches Albania are washed with waves from the Adriatic Sea. South of the Bay of Vlora, the Ionian Sea reigns all the way down through to the coast of Greece. The coastline here is jagged, with rocky, yet charming bays and steep hills. It is in these parts that it is especially worth diving, as the waters here hold many interesting underwater mysteries.

Why is Albania such a popular destination?

In 2016, over 4 million tourists visited Albania — and we are surprised that there weren't more. You can drive to Albania by car, fly by plane, or even travel by ferry (or, of course, by yacht) from e.g. Italy or the nearby Greek island of Corfu. It doesn't matter what mode of travel you choose, as long as it is accompanied by a taste for adventure, the desire to learn about new diving sites, and a stomach that is ready to indulge in delicious local cuisine.

Albania is full of decommissioned military bunkers. Some of them have been reconditioned and turned into hotels. Albania's terrains are predominately mountainous — highlands account for about 75% of its area. Driving through the many hills and valleys of this scenic country, you should be extra careful and watch out for loose cows and donkeys — especially around sharp corners. They sometimes like to lay down and rest in the middle of the street! It is very easy to get into an accident.

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What are the best dive sites in Albania

Probably the most popular place to dive in Albania is the city of Sarande, closely followed by Durres and Vlorë. The waters of this country are relatively poorly explored — the Adriatic and Ionian seas hold many secrets, as for a long time, diving in them was forbidden. For example, near ​​Porto Palermo (a few dozen kilometers north of Sarande) there is a bay with a promontory (a small hill) topped with a fortified castle. It was here that Ali Pasha built the Tepelene fortress in the 19th century. As early as 20 years ago, this bay was a closed military area. Today, diving is welcomed, and even encouraged.

There is also a two-chamber cave there, and in it you can find a beautiful purple sea anemones, or a huge repository of ammunition that was abandoned there years ago. There are grenades, artillery shells, and lots of rifle ammunition. Time glued the munitions together and faded their colors in to those that resemble the rocks they lay on. Various fish, such as scorpions and nudibranches, can often be seen peeking out between the ammunition. During dives in Albania, you can often come across snail Felimare cantabrica. In between dives, we recommend taking a small hike and visiting the fortress of Ali Pasha. The view is fantastic.

Albania is a country where you can be sure that you will find very tasty food for not a lot of money (and that's a good thing, because we all know that after diving: we love to eat). This is a country that is gorgeous to drive through, serves amazing food, and offers awesome diving experiences. If you're looking for a great place to dive and have an all-around great time, look no further than Albania!